THE ICONIC MODERN DAY CHRISTIAN
"When the modern day "believer" abstains from an outward course of sin, it is not because he loves holiness, or from an awareness of the conflicts of sin to the perfections of the HAYAH, that he forbears to gratify his vicious appetites to the full extent of his power. It is because he/she is apprehensive that there are disagreeable consequences that would follow such a conduct. Does he attend religious ordinances? It is not from love and reverence toward HAYAH, or because he delights in them as means of communion with HIM. It is because he loves himself and hopes, by observing the divine commands, to obtain favor at the great White Throne Judgment. If it were not that his conscience be easy and his hope of heaven continue without these devotional services, he would drop them without hesitation and leave the performance of them to others, in a heartbeat.
A slavish fear of hell and a mercenary expectation of heaven are the main motivators of his moral and religious conduct, and self-preservation is the end which he has in view. In religious circles (fellowship), a regard to the decency and present usefulness of a moral conversation may bridle the base passions, and strongly urge him to a religious profession. But where we avoid sin and practice duty, we do so with a view to obtain the favor of heaven and escape everlasting misery, or with a design to gain the advantages attending a moral behavior and the reputation of appearing religious. It is very certain that we are far from living to HAYAH with a sincere affection for HIM and a supreme concern for HIS glory, and this having not a prevailing influence on our hearts and lives. We may, therefore, safely conclude that it is absolutely necessary a man should be dead to the Law (religious conformity) and should give up all expectations of justification by his own obedience, BEFORE he can live unto ELOHIM in the performance of holy duties and in the practice of real intimate loving virtue. - Abraham Booth (edited slightly by myself)
My dear brothers and sisters, I cannot but cringe reading these words that have been preserved for such a time as this. I was raised and schooled in Religion. FEAR OF PUNISHMENT is NOT the same, as loving my SAVIOR.
My fallen flesh, and it's concern for longevity and comfort have motivated me into a respect for HAYAH, much like the respect I had as a child, not for my parents, but for the rod. I didn't obey because I loved and respected them (like I do now). No, I did it because they would inflame my rear end for failure to obey their commands. And I'm glad that this was present in my life. So many children now days grow up without any discipline at all. They do not understand that all choices are followed by consequences.
But SIN (disobedience) is an act of DISRESPECT and a failure to love respectfully with gratitude. I loved my parents in as much as they provided for me. It was only later that I loved them and respected them because of their personal character and integrity.
So conforming to religious behavior, for me, was just an extension of my personal behavior at home. I respect "GOD", because of the consequences, and not for the wonder of who HE is and HIS great love for us all.
I can also confess that this battle of love of SELF rather than love of my CREATOR and REDEEMER, continues on with every breath I take. I am more motivated by HIS punishment in response to my choices, than by respect, love, and honor of HIS GLORY. And worse, my flesh is my worst enemy. it is far more seductive and clever, than anything satan can throw at me.
The flesh of mankind has NOT been redeemed. It is destined for corruption and the grave. Yet we all live in this shrine of corruption and moral filth. It is so infinitely wicked that there is absolutely no hope or confidence in anything it does. For all it's actions are tainted with self will and self preservation. So much so, that without our REDEEMER and our HOPE in HIS shed blood on our behalf, we would drown in a whirlpool of debauchery and iniquity. LORD have mercy.
I see no hope, apart from an aborence of my personal behavior and choices, and pure confidence in my LORD (meaning whom I so desire to obey). I agree, that my life is tainted beyond repair. But I also agree, that the wrath I deserve, was borne in love by my REDEEMER. Not because I'm "bad or good", but because HE chose to redeem me. Can I ever worship HIM too much? Absolutely not. HE is no longer someone whom I squeeze into "my" life. HE IS MY LIFE, and I have no hope in my religious performance or lack thereof. Oh that my number one concern is HIS reputation, rather than my own.
If I am to point a finger at anyone, it would be to HIM. HE became sin for me, that I might live unto HIM, even if my flesh opposes my every breath. HE alone is worthy of my praise and worship. And worship is not a weekly thing we do with others. Worship is honor and respect of WHO HE IS, moment by moment, with every breath I've been blessed to breath. I live in hope, because HE lives in me. - Lahry